I hate almost all automated phone systems (except of course the ones created by Gold Systems.) Most suck and even though a little bit of effort could radically improve them, companies (and their customer service groups) don’t seem to understand (or care) about how their customers interact with them.
While I try to avoid picking up the phone and asking for help, it happens sometimes. I try to get a special magic phone number that reaches a human immediately (e.g. I fly United a lot and can get a person on one ring), but this is the rare exception not the norm.
Jason pointed me to the Dial A Human web site. This is a great site that lists the real phone numbers for customer support for a bunch of companies along with instructions to hack the phone system to bypass the menu prompts and get to a human right away.
I tried it on a few – it worked pretty well (I found one error and corrected it.) Obviously a wiki format would be great for this, but at least there is this.